I was going to do a nice article on Puritans, Abraham Lincoln, and the "real" story of Thanksgiving, but this was too good to pass up. I mean, we'll have other Thanksgivings, but we'll never—I hope—have another November where elections and chads (the little things you punch out of ballots) attract such overwhelming attention. And if anybody should be made patron saint of botched elections, it's Saint Chad.
Saint Chad, or Ceadda, was born in the early seventh century, probably in Northumbria. English historian Venerable Bede, who gives us pretty much all we know about Chad, reports that he was educated at Lindisfarne by the much-celebrated abbot St. Aiden. Chad also studied in Ireland before joining his brother St. Cedd at his monastery at Lestingay (now Lastingham, Yorkshire). It's unclear from the records, but in 664 Cedd either died or was called away to be Bishop of London, leaving Chad in charge of the monastery.
While Chad was thus occupied, the bishop of Lindisfarne died, and Prince Alcfrid chose St. Wilfrid to replace him. Unfortunately, due to a lack of clergy in the area, Wilfrid had to go to Gaul (France) to be properly consecrated. Wilfrid had traveled to the Continent before, and maybe he really liked it there, because he didn't come back for a couple of years.
In the meantime, Alcfrid had somehow lost his power, and his father, King Oswi, had lost patience with the bishop situation. Oswi nominated Chad to the vacant bishopric (now transferred from Lindisfarne to York). The dearth of clergy was again a problem—even Canterbury was bishop-less—but Chad finally received his consecration from Wini of Worcester and two other British bishops.
As Chad was walking across his diocese (he didn't think riding a horse was sufficiently ...1
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